With the financial industry on the cusp of a significant shift to digital, ‘Will your job exist tomorrow?’ was the perfect question for CFTE’s Co-founder, Tram Anh, to put to an audience full of finance professionals at this year’s Money 20/20 conference in Copenhagen.
The response was overwhelming.
The rest of this article will explore the backdrop to Tram Anh’s talk at Money 20/20. It will attempt to put into context the changes that are occurring in the financial industry as a result of technological disruption.
Money 20/20 Europe
Money 20/20 Europe is a leading international conference. Thousands of professionals across various industries such as banking, advertising, media, investment, and technology attend the conference annually.
This years conference was held against a backdrop of record levels of investment in FinTech. According to a CBI Insights report, investment in FinTech is set to exceed 2016 levels.
With FinTech gaining momentum people were naturally eager to understand how it would impact their jobs.
Tram Anh delivers her message on jobs in Finance 2.0
Tram Anh was invited to Money 20/20 Europe speak about the impact of technology on jobs on the brand new Arena Stage.
The innovative stage is designed to enable maximum engagement from the audience. The stage utilises multiple screens on all sides, floor projections and circular seating to deliver an immersive experience for the audience.
Thus, it was the perfect stage (no pun intended!) for Tram Anh to deliver her message on the impact of technological disruption on jobs in finance.
Tram Anh’s talk was designed to be inquisitive and engaging.
She used polls and activities to get the crowd thinking more about how their roles within finance were beginning to changing with new technological innovations.
Even with a diverse crowd from a wide variety of backgrounds, a general consensus emerged. People agreed that technology was noticeably affecting their industries and consequently was also beginning to affect their jobs.
The audiences and their thoughts
A highlight from the talk was when she asked the audience:
What do you think your job will be in the next 5 years?
- My job will disappear
- My job will stay the same
- My job will be significantly different
For the answer, she pulled the audience onto the stage with her and via projections onto the ground floor, she asked them to choose a segment that corresponded to the three choices she had given.
Most people seemed to think their jobs would definitely change as a direct result of technological advancements. Some were insistent that their job would remain totally unchanged, no matter what happened in tech.
Nobody thought his or her job would totally disappear – not a single person.
Was the audience correct in their assumptions (after all, they are all professionals… many senior managers or CEOs)?
Or were they being too optimistic about the security of their positions?
Learning lessons from History
As much as we would like to, we cannot look into the future for answers.
However, it is possible to reflect on past data to make accurate predictions. Many parallels can be drawn between the financial and advertising industries.
In the past 2 decades, advertising has gone through a technological revolution, which has reshaped the industry and redefined jobs. Tram Anh drew on this data to illustrate what is happening in Finance now.
The Disruption of Advertising
If one looks at the total advertising industry, it has undoubtedly transformed during the last 10 years.
Upon closer inspection, it is revealed that, while Internet advertising grew to around 5 times its initial size, print advertising collapsed, shrinking by around 60%.
Overall, the advertising industry is bigger today than 10 years ago.
As the Internet grew as a network, new digital technologies such as search engines grew with it, changing how readers accessed and consumed information.
People began to spend more time online consuming content, thus the emphasis shifted from print to new business models that leveraged the power of digital technology.
This led to a subsequent decline in the sale of books, newspapers, and magazines and gave birth to an ecosystem of innovative businesses that live online.
Online advertising grows
Businesses like the Huffington Post, WordPress and variety advertising technology platforms were born. Some print newspapers, like The Independent, have even become digital pure plays as they look to move with the times.
With a shift in the way content is consumed came a shift in the way advertisers had to sell products. Nowadays, Google alone makes more advertising revenue than the entire US Print Media, see figure 1.
This overview shows that even when an industry grows, certain sectors can still shrink. This, of course, has implications for employment.
Overall, the total number of jobs in advertising has decreased slightly but not by much, which could lead one to believe that jobs have remained fairly unchanged. However, as before, this macroscopic approach to analysing the data is very superficial.
New jobs created
What really happened was some jobs disappeared, others were transformed and some entirely new positions have emerged.
Demand for digital skills such as data analytics, SEO, social media has grown as advertisers now compete for the short attention spans of online readers and consumers.
Figure 2 above, highlights the decline in print jobs was almost entirely offset by an increase in online publishing roles.
It is also worth noting that these figures don’t take into account the number of jobs created in other verticals like AdTech and digital marketing, meaning in actual fact the total number of jobs increased.
In other words,
- Hundreds of thousands of jobs disappeared in newspapers,
- Hundreds of thousands of jobs were transitioned to a digital world
And many totally new jobs were created.
What does FinTech mean for your job?
What Tram Anh concluded was that innovation in financial technologies will likely lead to:
- Jobs Totally Changing: In the advertising industry, the technological revolution meant almost everybody had to adapt from print media to online media. In finance, most jobs will experience a similar transformation.
- Jobs Disappearing: Technology will, unfortunately, lead to whole sectors of finance becoming obsolete with certain job roles disappearing. Print advertising as a segment saw a massive decline and with it, many jobs disappeared.
- New Jobs Being Created: As demonstrated by the advertising industry example, technology creates jobs. Both within existing industries and in new adjacent sectors that are born of a need to service facilitate the growth new technology brings.
- Which roles? Some new job roles can be predicted, others less so. For example, the explosion of data is increasing demand for financial companies to better manage their data, thus we can fairly confidently predict that demand for data specific skills will increase. Other roles likely to emerge are harder to predict. But just as blogging and social media have flourished we can expect similar parallels to emerge in Finance 2.0
The inescapable fact is, change is already happening.
Take the number of Cash Equity traders in Goldman Sachs’ New York Office. In 2000, there were 600 but today, following advancements in Automation and AI, there are only 2.
Most of the people in finance are now beginning to become more aware of the technology-driven changes like these.
The next step is for professionals working in finance to take proactive steps to ensure that they are best positioned to benefit from these changes.
It was on this principle, to help finance professionals transition to Finance 2.0, that CFTE was founded.
The FinTech courses CFTE is developing have been designed to educate and empower professionals to seize the opportunity technology creates.
For more information, register with us here.
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